Over the Fence Chat for October 14 through October 21

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Hey, nobody started this for today, so I guess, here goes.....

After thinking that perhaps we had been "spared" the recurring plague of the fall invading ladybugs, I was proved utterly and completely wrong!!! We had a killing freeze last weekend, and then it warmed up in the 70's by Tuesday, this brought out the hordes of ladybugs by the millions! They are especially attracted to white sun facing surfaces, so of course that is what most all of our buildings are, and all have plenty of south facing sun exposure. On warm sunny days, it is a real challenge to enter the house without 50 or so coming in with you, in your hair, all over your clothes, crawling all over the doorframes, you get the idea! It is like the Alfred Hitchcock movie "The Birds", except it is ladybugs!

Now all the garden folk are thinking, wonderful, you can't have too many ladybugs, but....... they haven't experienced the full ladybug invasion like we have here. A few hundred in every sun facing window and door, INSIDE THE HOUSE, and falling in your coffee or tea or water glass is way too "close encounters" for me. And they smell terrible! The odor of "ladybug stench" is a bit overpowering, I put lavender soaked cottonballs in the canister vac that I use to suck them up daily to help combat the odor.

And, don't even get me started on the spider invasion of the house, there were so many coming in last night, that they had "spider wars" to establish territory, the big blackish "dirt" spiders were facing off against the lighter brown, but extremely fast, roadrunner spiders, so called cause you have to be one to catch the things! They see you coming, and it's off to the races!

Between the ladybugs, spiders, and occasional small black snake in the house, it's never a dull moment here in the boonies of southern Ohio, and these are just the critters that try to share the homestead residence inside. But, I really do love it here, and would be no where else in the country, to hear the coyotes sing every night, and the mating calls of the whip-poor-wills and great horned owls acting as back up singers to them, to be able to view the milky way and all the stars without a telescope cause the air is so clear and bright, that is worth all the close encounters with creepy crawly critters in my opinion.

Anybody else having the "lady bug experience" this fall?

-- Anonymous, October 14, 2001


I'm sorry, I submitted this at the same time Sheepish did hers!!! Oops!

-- Anonymous, October 14, 2001

Yes, We have been having the lady bug experience here too in central IL. We had the same kind of weather with a cold spell and then a warm up and then here they come. I totally agree with every word you said about them and my vac smells the same. My husband got me some vac smell goods to put in the bags and that sure helps. We had a lot of rain this week. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday we had total 3 inches of rain. Then Saturday it rained and rained and I called to see if Polly's get together was still on and she said yes. So we headed over there and went thru some terrible down pours, streets flooded and thought sure we were gonna have to get us a boat. But we got there and Polly had a good fire going and lots of family and friends. A good time for all. By morning we had another 3 1/2 inches in the rain gauge. Things are sure soggy around here. My grandma had her 73 year old sister come up from Southern IN. and stay the weekend. They tried to get out and sight see, but the rain kept them in. Now my grandma at 81 is gonna go home with her sister for the week and she never leaves to go anywhere. We are glad she is going to go, and hope she has a good time. I will go and pick her up on Saturday. If she ends up staying that long, she may call and want to come back sooner. Her sister Velma drives a brand new P.T. Cruiser bright red. She says she sure gets the looks when driving it. Our 4-H group cleaned the 4-H building this weekend and there will be a end of year banquet next weekend. The kids look forward to this because this is where they get their premium checks for all the projects they did thru the year. Our next meeting this month we will be decorating pumpkins giving them to nursing homes and Senior citizen housing. Maranda was chosen to go the the learning Olympiad this past week. Her and 3 other children. Two 5th graders and Two 6th graders. They went and competed as a team, against 31 other teams and came in 7th place. The top 10 go to regionals in Springfield in January. We are all proud of them. Maranda's girl scout sales are over and now it's Justin and the boy scouts selling popcorn. It seems there is always something. The chicken hatched out 6 babies and only 5 are alive. Four yellow and brown ones and a black and yellow one. They are so cute! The rabbit should have had hers by now and hasn't. The boxer dog is due in a couple weeks and by the looks of things she will be having some. I better quit babbling and get some things done. Phyllis

-- Anonymous, October 14, 2001

Actually, I had started one... But since nobody had responded, it is still sitting all lonely and everything in the Ask a Question section!

Could our erstwhile moderator perhaps add mine to this one, now that we have answers to Annie's?


-- Anonymous, October 14, 2001

I have copied the text from Sheepish's thread (see below), and then will delete the other thread, as soon as I am sure this worked! Ha ha, I came in today thinking, Gee, no one started a new chat thread, I'd better do it! ;-)

Sundays seem to be getting shorter and shorter. Must be losing the daylight, I guess. Church was kind of crowded today. I think a lot of people are coming into the sanctuary to feel some kind of safety or peace. We had some good music today: classical guitar with flute. And of course, I love to listen to organ music, too.

I weeded perennial beds this afternoon...figured I should try to locate the weeds before they get buried under all the maple leaves after they fall. I understand our temperatures might get into the high 30s tonight...maybe a frost? My green beans and corn are in, except for the green beans that are too big. If we don't get a frost, I think I'll pick them and dry them for seed next year (I've never done it...is there a trick?) The kohlrabi is looking pickable, and I may get some decent sized beets yet. I picked three huge hubbards and have them "curing" on the porch.

I found a bunch of fabric at a thrift store today...going to make valances for the bunkhouse windows with it. I'm doing a sort of gingham-y flavor to the place. Keep it homey and country.

Some of our neighbors came over last night for pizza and pressing apples. We stayed up until almost midnight and got a lot done...I would say at least a bushel. The apple juice is so fragrant. That smell always makes me think of fall.

Hope all is well with you folks. What's new?

Asked by sheepish (the_original_sheepish@hotmail.com) on October 14, 2001.


There sheepish, now you are not sitting all lonely in the new questions category!!! We have sunshine today for the first time in almost a week. I was beginning to think I would have to get my growlites out to combat the depression!!! We are expecting a freeze tomorrow so are doing our final gleaning from the garden of green tomatoes and the like. Still need to finish digging the beets and carrots and put them in the root cellar. Some of the guys from where Gary works brought a huge bunch of wood that we have been splitting with the hydrolic hand splitter. I love to split wood with it as there is very little sound and I can listen to the birds and such and still get something done. I think we will be able to use it even when we are eighty, as it requires very little strength, just time. We have the last few bushels of apples to press and can up the juice and I still want to make some more applesauce. The barn is a mess and needs the fall cleaning. I am glad that Gary is slowly getting strength back in his shoulder.

Answered by diane (gardiacaprines@yahoo.com) on October 15, 2001.


There, all fixed, and thanks to both of you, Annie and Sheepish, for starting threads!

-- Anonymous, October 15, 2001

Just proves again that great minds think alike, eh Annie? ;-)

Thanks Joy for fixin' it all up!

-- Anonymous, October 15, 2001

I think sometimes we are connected by some type of "vulcan mind meld", it so wierd that we are thinking the same things at the exact same time!!!

"Live long and prosper" !!!

-- Anonymous, October 16, 2001

We have had ladybug problems in previous years, but this year they seem to be "managable". My housecats are "death" on any creepy crawlie that dares to enter my home. Sure, they don't eat lots of them because of the yucky stench or taste, but they sure "bat" the hell out of them!!! Makes it easier to vacuum them up :-)! I agree, Annie, I wouldn't give up living here in the boonies either. I'd never be able to sleep somewhere where I couldn't listen to the coyotes at nght!! And the Northern Lights show in the winter is "to die for"!

We butchered our two pigs this past weekend. Everything went according to plan. Both hubby and I get a little nervous when it comes right down to the killing part. On year we raised a pig waaaay too big ('bout 300 lbs.). And the 357 Magnum handgun we normally used did not "drop" him. We tried a couple different angles, but I think all we did was give him a terrible headache! AND he was getting more PO'd by the minute! So hubby went inside and brought out the ole' shotgun (20 gauge) with a slug. That did the trick! But now we never raise our pigs much beyond 200 lbs. That 300 lb. pig experience is very fresh in our minds! Still use the 357, but I hold the shotgun...just in case! All in all, for a couple of old folks, I think we did pretty good! Had two pigs killed, skinned, gutted and halved in 3 hrs. Helps, also, to have a tractor and winch and an engine hoist!!! After selling one of the pigs, our price per lb. is $.57. Later this week we will be picking up our half of beef. By then I think my freezer will be full!! Don't think we'll bother with a deer.

The last fall project will be to finish up our firewood. We usually split about 8 cord for the winter...I think we're about halfway there!! Then I really HAVE to get going on refinishing some of this furniture I've accumulated! Hubby tells me that I need to have my own yard sale now for all this "junk", but I tell him that there is hidden beauty in all of it. By the look he gives me, I can tell he doesn't believe me :-)!!

By the way...Aunty Em...did you see the "acorn recipes" in the new CS mag??? Printed just for you, I guess!

Have a great week, everyone!

-- Anonymous, October 16, 2001

Oh goodie! Acorn recipes! But I haven't recieved my magazine yet!

We have almost none of those Asian ladybugs here at the new place; the interior white farmhouse walls are speckled with em though. Guess they arent attracted to wood, completely the opposite of me. Anyway, I don't like those imported bugs; I like our native ladybugs, even have a collection of ladybug stuff.

We have a white duck, orange bill, swimming out in our little lake with the mallards. It always stays at the other end so I cant see it very well even with the binocs, but I can't imagine what it is. It almost looks like a Pekin from here, but do they fly that well? Its funny to watch the procession of mallards surrounding this white one as they swim around out there; looks like they're bodyguards or something. Maybe its a magical duck? Reminds me of that kids song, "Little White Duck, swimming in the water.." although its not so little, and also the story of the Ugly Duckling. Anybody know what it could be?

-- Anonymous, October 16, 2001

Considering it's you, EM, I think you can probably tell a duck from a goose. Is it about the same size as the mallards or bigger? I think there are some white ducks, Call ducks maybe, or Swedish (?), other than Pekins. But, I think Pekins are the most common. Are you sure someone didn't dump their no-longer-cute pet? I think ducks are ALWAYS cute, but that's just me! ;-) I love to listen to their sarcastic comments . . .

Part of a poem that we learned as children .. . .

All along the backwater,
And through the rushes tall,
Ducks are a-dabbling . . .

Hens' tails, drakes' tails,
Yellow feet a-quiver,
Yellow bills out of sight,
Busy in the river.

And there's more, but I can't remember it now . .. :-(

-- Anonymous, October 16, 2001

Oh Joy!!! I have not heard that poem since I was a wee child and my grandmother used to read it to me. If you think of the rest or know the source, please post.

-- Anonymous, October 16, 2001

Joy, I'm pretty sure it aint a goose; no long neck. It's bigger than the mallards; definitely not a Call. And yes, its entirely possible that its somebodys pet gone astray, but seems like it would likely have flown here? I dunno.......

-- Anonymous, October 17, 2001

When I was down at the Kentucky Horse Park, they had Canadian geese all over a backwater pond they had there, and one lone white goose (domestic, not a snow goose) swimming with them.

"How sad" I thought "The Canadians will fly south eventually, and that poor white goose will be left behind, all alone...."

Later that day, I saw the geese up and flying around the Park -- led by the white goose!! I would have thought that they couldn't fly either, so who knows.

Speaking of white animals, this afternoon it was cold, grey, and trying to snow outside. It felt like a 'nap' afternoon, and on my way, I spied Mr. Ghandi, the albino guinea pig I rescued on Labor Day, taking a snooze as well. He kind of looked at me, and I said "Well, how about it? Wanna go have a bit of a toes-up?" He didn't say no, so I took it for yes, gathered him up in a towel and off we went.

Poor little Mr. Ghandi. So named for being all skin and bones, his wispy white hair, and his 'spectacles' of whorled hair around his eyes. He is actually much better now, I can't feel the nobs on his spine or his ribs anymore, and he is starting to have a little heft to him. I say 'poor' because he is the one who gets picked on for my forays into pet torture and making him take naps with me.

Actually, I think he is happy in his own guinea pig way to have a home again. He is relaxed enough with handling and petting that it is obvious to me that somewhere along the line, probably when he was little and new to the family that bought him, he got a lot of attention and handling. But somewhere along the line he became bigger, and boring, and eventually got thrown outdoors in the back yard, in the pouring rain with no protection, no food, and no water except for the rainwater.

He sits on the towel and gives me strange looks. He rolls his eyes so that you can see the pinks (they'd be white if he wasn't albino) and looks vaguely alarmed, but after some head rubbing, he starts to think about it. He has a little scratch. He starts to wurble a bit...then he gives a BIG *YAWN*, and plops his head down on the towel. I stroke the bridge of his nose -- which he loves -- and his eyes start to drift shut.

Lucky little Mr. Ghandi. He's found a new home.

I turned a bunch of soil amendments into the garden beds yesterday and found another dinner's worth of potatoes in doing so. Got one bed that I still have to turn over and I might still find a few more there too. Next week's project -- shred leaves,and set up cold frames.

That and processing a few of the surviving tomatoes in the garage. I roasted up two pans full of possibles, put them into the Vitamixer and hit 'frappe'. Voila. Tomato sauce. Okay, it's not totally skin and/or seed free, but it's good enough for chili and soup, so it's off to the freezer with it. I've still gotta chop up that cabbage for sauerkraut...

-- Anonymous, October 17, 2001

Julie, the animals that find their way into your home are truly blessed!!! How lucky little Mr. Ghandi is to have YOU rescue him!!! I have always said that those of us that take the time to make that special effort to care for wayward and needy critters will have a special place in the hereafter, I would add wayward children, but, we cannot intervene so immediately and directly in their case! But many times I have seen an animal in dire need and just brought them home, dogs, cats, chickens, bunnys, whatever needed attention or they would have suffered needlessly. Yes, it was "pet theft", but better that than certain and lingering death.

-- Anonymous, October 17, 2001

Ohh! Now I want a guinea pig again! And a white duck! Actually, the cats would cause serious mayhem for a guinea pig, but I love to hear about Mr. Ghandi! Keep us posted on his progress!

I am looking for more ducks since we are now down to only five. Everytime I read about free ducks in the paper, someone else has got them already. I may have to get some at the co-op this spring. We have to get more chicks too, if we don't hatch some out with our old girls...

I planted garlic a couple of days ago. I have enough garlic to start a garlic farm! I had to completely rennovate an old vegetable garden (has horseradish, rhubarb, and rosemary and the rest fallow) to plant. I've never grown garlic before but apparently it thrives here, so I'm looking forward to having something else to weed over the winter...

Today I need to pull out the old corn and weed, weed, weed the fall garden. I also should do a big clean in the ewe barn. Yesterday was so dark and pouring down rain. My mom took me out to lunch in town...neither of us felt like doing anything major.

btw, the vet that I have been working for sounds like he would fit right in with our animal fans around here....sometimes when folks bring their animals in for euthanasia, if he feels that there isn't something wrong with the animal physically, he'll keep the pet and adopt it out. Currently, I think there's five cats awaiting new homes (new lives!!) and three cats that live permanently (blood donors) at the hospital. Haven't seen any guinea pigs, but I haven't looked in all the back rooms yet....LOL. Ya never know...could be horses and cows, too.

-- Anonymous, October 17, 2001

Oh Julie, I LOVED your story about Mr. Ghandi!! How do you keep him from running away?

I stole a dog once. When I lived in Seattle, in an above-a-garage apt, way back in my unevolved days :), living in dire straights.......whooops, wrong straights......dire straits.......with a crazy woman. Across the alley we would daily see this tiny little ugliest-dog-in-the-world tied up to a short chain heavy enough for a Holstein bull. Sometimes there was a bowl of food out there, with huge nuggets fit for a St Bernard. In all kinds of weather; it was pathetic, and pissed us off. The people who lived there were scarey lookin! So one day after I was pretty sure they had all left the house, I went over there and just kinda unhooked the chain, and lo and behold, the little fella followed me, up the stairs, and woulda come in, but when I picked him up, he was so flea-ridden there was no way I was bringin him in to join our cat and dog. So we wrapped him in a blanket, took him to a vet, who said she's never seen a dog so worm-infested who was still alive! He was the saddest looking thing;cuz he had been so mal-nourished his coat was so thin, and he was so skinny! Anyway, we kept him hidden, eventually the folks who 'owned' him moved, and I had him for 12 years! He was a sweetie...

-- Anonymous, October 17, 2001

Well, there's more to Julie's guinea pig rescue adventures. I found out that the sister of an acquaintance needed to reduce her guinea pig herd (she's a breeder) due to reduced living accomodations. Since Julie's dog, Elf, is gone now (she would've finished off any rodents in short order), I thought maybe Julie would be able to take one or two. She decided on two females and also took a cute male to a friend who's pig had passed on. We named the ladies Ruby Tuesday (has ruby red eyes) and Red Zinger.

After she got them home, Zinger began to expand. Uh oh, yep, pregnant. Apparently one of the boys from her previous litter were not removed soon enough! She had 5 babies that lived, 4 boys (!) and one girl. The boys are available for adoption to anyone who can meet Julie's approval as a good pet owner (not easy to do!).

Our mother is always on our cases about acquiring more animals. She was very disapproving that Julie took two pigs, then even more disapproving when Julie kept the babies (so far). BUT it was MOTHER who discovered Mr. Ghandi needed a new home, and SHE asked Julie to take him! ROTFL!

I didn't get much flak from her about taking the dog, certainly nothing like I would have heard if I'd gotten another cat! I guess dogs are exempt from her disapproval.

I finished removing the fence from my rented garden plot this week. Can't leave the fences up because they turn the ground with a plow every fall. I spent the time taking the fence out alternately swearing I wouldn't do the garden next year and plotting what to do differently. We'll see!

Then I had to get busy on mowing up leaves. The "fall" is light enough so far that I can just use the mulching mower and leave them in place on the lawn. Later, I'll probably have to gather them up. One memorable year, it was dry when the Norway maple shed it's leaves, and I was able to mow/mulch them all. If they get wet, they don't dry, and I can't get them to mulch then. I put as many leaves as possible under trees and bushes. This year, I have a couple of clear areas where I can sheet compost them -- Yay! I use the blower to blow them onto a tarp and then drag them to where I want them. If I had to rake, it would take FOREVER to get them all up. I have two silver maples -- one drops its leaves when the others do, but the big one in the back yard likes to hang onto its leaves for ever. There have been a few years where the snow came before the leaves fell -- then they sit there all winter and are a soggy mess to remove in the spring! One memorable year, winter came so early the leaves froze without ever "turning" yellow, then just dropped off. So far, I would say this has been an average, normal fall.

Annie, I have NOT seen the ladybug infestation this year anywhere near as many as last year. They've been around, but not in the numbers of last year. I think the crickets are all gone -- I heard them singing at night a couple of weeks ago, but not any more.

I hear the geese flying overhead. They're gathering, not leaving yet -- there are lots of ponds and lakes for them to hang out on. One year, they were still here after Thanksgiving. But that was a very mild fall and early winter. We didn't get any appreciable snow until January 1st. Unlike last year, when we had one of the snowiest December's ever!

Julie and I, along with brother J and Mom, are scheduled to road trip again this weekend for more "family business", but it's looking like it might only be me and J. Mom has been ill this week, and might decide to stay home, in which case, Julie will stay around to keep an eye on her. Since I expect to go, I guess I'd better go pack or clean something up, I guess!

-- Anonymous, October 17, 2001

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